.....................with Gilbert Keith Chesterton:
If Patrick Henry could arise from the dead and revisit the land of the living, and see the vast system and social organization and social science which now controls, he would probably simplify his observation and say, "Give me death."
I do seriously think that the most profound criticism of the culture of our time can be found in a sentence which, I believe, was written by Artemus Ward, which runs, I think: "It isn't so much people's ignorance that does the harm as it is their knowing so many things that ain't so."
Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger.
I have heard that in some debating clubs there is a rule that the members may discuss anything except religion and politics. I cannot imagine what they do discuss, but it is quite evident that they have ruled out the only two subjects which are either important of amusing. The thing is a part of a certain modern tendency to avoid things because they lead to warmth, whereas, obviously, we ought, even in a social sense, to seek these things specially. The warmth of discussion is a much a part of hospitality as the warmth of the fire.
It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play, it is really possible to say the highest things in praise to it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke—that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls. When we are really holy we may regard the Universe as a lark.